Mama Koko and the Hundred Gunmen: An Ordinary Family’s Extraordinary Tale of Love, Loss, and Survival in Congo

Driven by means of her family’s devastating losses, Congolese expatriate Francisca Thelin embarks, with human rights activist Lisa J. Shannon, on a deadly trip again to her cherished fatherland, now lower than the shadow of 1 of Africa’s such a lot feared militias—Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance military. With gunmen camped on the fringe of city, Francisca is compelled to stand a paralyzing conflict among her existence in the USA and her family’s speedily evaporating world—and the truth that their rush to her family’s relief may well backfire.

Mama Koko and the Hundred Gunmen weaves Francisca’s trip with tales of the family’s harrowing encounters with gunmen and stories from their previous to create a vibrant, illuminating portrait of a spot and its humans. We listen of Mama Koko’s youth as a gap-toothed good looks plotting to flee her inevitable destiny of spouse and motherhood; of Papa Alexander’s empire of other halves, every one of whom he married simply because she cooked and wiped clean and made sturdy espresso; and of Francisca’s idyllic formative years, whilst she ran barefoot during the family’s espresso plantation gorging herself on mangoes and fish that “were the scale of small children.”

Offering compelling testimony to the energy of the human spirit and the wonderful thing about human connection within the darkest of occasions, Mama Koko and the Hundred Gunmen additionally explores what it capacity and calls for to actually make a distinction in an unjust and infrequently violent world.

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He ran. Barefoot, with a bloody awl wound to the pinnacle and sure fingers, he wandered disoriented round the bush, hour after hour, via timber, trees, underbrush, and at last, a well-recognized box. might be he may locate a person there who might untie him? yet not anyone. Then he went to the subsequent farm. no one. the following one, not anyone. the subsequent one, not anyone. They have been all long gone. Hours handed, looking. ultimately, he noticed a lady. She untied him and took him to the bush, the place she wiped clean him up. Exhausted, he slept. within the morning he awakened considering: I’m going to die right here. yet then, a surge of decision: No, i cannot die working round the bush like an animal. He chanced on his as far back as the river and bought his boots. Then he went to the most highway, rattling all of it. A mass of 4 or 5 humans piled on a motorcycle rode towards him. LRA? As they rode nearer, he didn’t run. Kill me and get it over with. however it wasn’t the awl males. It was once a instructor who have been kidnapped and escaped. They picked him up and took him to discover the motorcycle battery, which were tossed into the river. Raphael mounted the motorbike, hopped on, and rode. Raphael had a moment domestic within the village of Kiliwa, en path to Dungu. at the street, he bumped into his kin looking for his physique. His spouse cried. He and his spouse and the kids back to their hut and settled in for the evening. Raphael hunkered right down to leisure, indulging his fingertips via caressing his kids, resting his legs weary from flight, resting his aching axe-wounded head. How may he be aware of that those necessary human moments, or any motion except dozing at once less than a seriously guarded United international locations sandbag citadel, could targeted a strong cost? The knock got here. “Is that you simply, brother? ” Raphael referred to as. No solution. They opened the door. 4 gunmen. They took his youngsters that evening. They took every little thing he owned and all 4 of his little ones. He and his spouse made it to Dungu, to reside out a protracted way forward for uninteresting refugee days. one after the other, months later, then months later back, the kids straggled into Dungu, ointments and cut up dermis and killings in the back of them. Kuli was once the final to come back out, the single woman. She got here in December, just a couple of months sooner than our journey. She got here with wounds among her legs. Her wounds didn’t heal. On January 23, Kuli died. That afternoon in Mama Koko’s front room, it wasn’t see you later for the reason that she had handed on. just a couple of weeks among them and Kuli. Alexander’s Grandson • • • • I have been asking approximately Nyakangba because the day we arrived. He was once Roger’s son, kidnapped whilst he was once twelve and held as a soldier for a yr. Black killing powder, laced with God is familiar with what medicinal drugs to make killing exhilarating, were packed into split-skin crosses with regards to the veins on his wrists and ankles. The scars have been nonetheless there. He entered Mama Koko’s lounge, a man-eyed fourteen-year-old. He sat at the a long way part of the sofa. I poured tea in a recuperate quickly mug embellished with rainbows and hearts. He set it in entrance of him, mild and well mannered. He used to be chilly and matter-of-fact, with no party to conceal his aching soul.

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